The mission of Awakened Heart Project is to promote the use of Jewish contemplative techniques that foster the development of a heart of wisdom and compassion. Cultivating an awakened heart leads to acting in the world with loving-kindness towards all beings, recognizing them as manifestations of the Holy One of Being.
The Awakened Heart Project provides opportunities for a focused effort at refining contemplative Jewish practices, such as meditation and prayer, as well as creating opportunities for intensive practice.
The Awakened Heart Project’s approach to Jewish meditation comes out of a desire to cultivate an awareness of the Divine Presence, along with the particular qualities of wisdom, compassion and kindness from a Jewish perspective.
The practices we include under the rubric of Jewish meditation are designed with this direction as our reference point. The wisdom accessible through Jewish meditation supports the understanding that the Divine Presence is the ground of All Being, and the ground of All Being is part of a singular interconnected web of being.
Jewish meditation also provides the wisdom to understand the nature of mind including those factors of mind that tend to obscure clear seeing. The practice teaches us how to direct loving attention into the present moment of experience, which is the only place the Divine Presence can be experienced.
Through careful observation of the present moment, we become more aware of which of our beliefs and which of our actions are beneficial to ourselves and those around us and which ones are harmful.
As wisdom grows through practice, the obscurations that cause the heart to close gradually become transparent, and lose their ability to keep the heart closed. At the same time, using the Jewish meditation practices of prayer, chant and blessings, it is also possible to cultivate wholesome mind states such as gratitude and awe.
Together, these practices open our hearts and strengthen our love for all Beings, parts of the Holy One of Being. This sense of connection leads to a commitment to act as much as possible in the service of tikkun olam, or repairing the brokenness of the world.
With this overview in mind, The Awakened Heart Project makes accessible techniques inherited from earlier generations of Jewish contemplatives, and in addition, has developed contemporary syntheses of a variety of meditation practices that further the Jewish practice of veahvta l’ray-eahchah kah-mocha, You shall love your fellow human Being as yourself. (Lev 19:18)
Jewish meditation also brings an awakened and clearer state of mind to three fundamental arenas for attention. As it says in Pirkei Avot: The world rests upon three fundamental pillars: Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Hassadim, or acquiring wisdom, the service of the heart, and deeds of loving-kindness.